BALTIMORE -- It was hard to tell by the way Scott Kazmir was pitching, but the left-hander fought back spasms throughout his stellar outing against the Orioles on Wednesday night.
The discomfort became too much for him to take in the eighth inning of Cleveland's 4-3 comeback win at Camden Yards, forcing him out of the game.
After the Tribe's victory, Kazmir said that he expects to be fine for his next start.
"I'll be good to go," Kazmir said. "It's just something that was more frustrating and irritating than anything."
Kazmir turned in seven brilliant innings, throwing 78 pitches, limiting the Orioles to one hit and one unearned run. He struck out four and walked one, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh before allowing a leadoff double to Manny Machado.
Kazmir took the mound with the intention of pitching the eighth, but manager Terry Francona said it was clear that his hurler was fighting the problem in his lower back. Francona and head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff met Kazmir on the mound and, following a brief chat, righty Joe Smith was called from the bullpen to take over.
"When he went out to warm up," Francona said of Kazmir, "you could tell he was trying to get loose without having it grab at him. I went out there. He had pitched too well to make a mistake because of that and lose a game. Plus, you're taking a chance you lose him for a while."
Francona is optimistic that Kazmir will show up feeling better on Thursday.
"I hope he shows up tomorrow and it's just back spasms," he said. "I think he'll probably be a little sore, but we're hopeful it's nothing more than that."